In this article at, the authors explore the success and otherwise of Prime Ministers that become so mid term, vs. those who become so by winning a general election. They do so over a 100 year period, including that between the wars where the long term decline of the Liberals as the voice of the working class, and the establishment of universal suffrage meant that long term changes in the politics of the UK were occurring, I examine the former here.

I decided to examine the data from 1945, which “as any fule kno”, is when politics starts and history ends! I have developed the chart below, although I recommend looking at fullfact’s as they take a different visual approach.

I define winners as those who became leader while in opposition and became Prime Minister as the result of a general election; their bars are above the line. Inheritors are those who become Leader while their Party is in Government and thus become Prime Minister; their bars are below the line. The length of the line shows how long they served. I use hatching to illustrate the success or failure of the inheritors. There are no successful Labour inheritors, the Tory successful inheritors have a dark hatching, and the inheritors that lost the next election have a light hatching.

What can be learned? Not too much I think, the circumstances of each of the leaderships are so different. It interests me that both May & Brown were anointed without an internal competition, where as Major was elected in a competition against the best of his generation, or at last the best that was left after 10 years of Thatcherite purges, and we should remember that he resigned and forced a second leadership competition, although both of these were held under rules that only permitted MPs to vote. It’s possible that the evidence shows that primaries are important.

None of this talks or considers the roles of those Leaders who never won an election, Gaitskill, Foot, Kinnock, Smith,  Hague, Howard, & Duncan Smith, although the question is whether inherited incumbency is a poisoned chalice?

Of the six inheritors, only two won their next election, but a lot of it is a long time ago.


There’s a piece in the independent, saying that as the poll reported a closing margin between the parties, Labour’s ostriches who have been arguing that Polls are inaccurate and designed to make opinion not inform it are changing our minds. We’re changing the meme (t would seem).

First, as Jackie Walker points out, the statistical treatment of the raw data is based on history. The polling companies have evidence that the out of work, low waged and the young vote less than the well-to-do and the old. If this is no longer true, and the registration activity over the last month suggests that something is changing then here is a source of inaccuracy that for once benefits Labour.

The other thing to be remembered is that old canard, “.. governments lose elections, oppositions don’t win them”, to which we should remember that voters have often punished politicians who take them to the ballot box unnecessarily


Steven Bush writes in the New Statesman, “Why the Tories’ falling poll lead isn’t a surprise”. This is written in response to this morning’s YouGov poll putting Labour within 5% of the Tories. He says, that on a uniform swing, far from strengthening her hand, the PM would be back in office with a majority of just two.

He also points out that wages are falling, and no government has ever won an election in those circumstances. She’s losing the Angels in Marble and it may depend on what Bush calls her purple firewall, the swing from UKIP to the Tories


Theresa May is really having a bad election, party because she’s a poor prime minister with little contact and sympathy with the electorate. Her assumption of the Tory Leadership (without a member’s ballot) reminds me of Gordon Brown who also arranged a coronation. The huge advantage of the primary system is that the potential leaders are tested before the general election. Brown was found wanting, as have half those who inherit the premiership.


I went out campaigning last night, a mixed response but the majority I spoke to were Labour, many people were out.  We held another conversation about Labour’s leadership of the council, this time about Education.

It is an area of controversy in the Ward and while there are massive constraints on what the Council can do, it needs to do better because the Party made promises in 2014 that it would improve Lewisham’s secondary schools. Effective action isn’t helped by the deliberate decoupling of the management of schools (by Thatcher/Baker), the Academies programme, (started by Blair, expanded by Cameron & May) and now the funding crisis as the Tories remove money from the schools programmes. Most of the schools funding comes from central government, and all the management decisions are taken by School Governors. The quality of the school is based on the quality of its leadership, both professional and the governors and this is evident in the northern parts of Lewisham Borough.

I understand the reasons for claiming success when Lewisham children get into Lewisham schools since Local Management of Schools means that the Council no longer takes these decisions but we need to do more. We need a Labour government committed to a National Education service, just as well there’s a general election on and that’s what they’re promising.


I have recreated this from a linkedin post, it’s about how wolf pack leaders behave. I like it and think that wolves get a bad press. It was originally posted by Claire Watkins.


A group of wolves:

The 3 in front are old & sick, they walk in front to set the pace of the running group lest they get left behind.

The next 5 are the strongest & best, they are tasked to protect the front side if there is an attack.

The pack in the middle are always protected from any attack.

The 5 behind them are also among the strongest & best; they are tasked to protect the back side if there is an attack.

The last one is the LEADER. He ensures that no one is left behind. He keeps the pack unified and on the same path. He is always ready to run in any direction to protect & serves as the ‘bodyguard’ to the entire group.

Just in case y’all wanted to know what it really means to be a leader.


While doing some research on “Modern Monetary Theory”, which it would seem is now just short of 30 years old, I started to look for the breakout white paper. It is available on Amazon, of course, for free if you are a user of Kindle Unlimited (about £100 p.a. ) but about £20 as a book or Kindle. Why? The marginal cost of the e-book is close to zero, and I paid a 99p transaction charge for a kindle priced at zero the other day. The high cost of the e-books is to add value to the Kindle Unlimited offer! And this is probably On top of Prime as well and they get to know what you’re researching or otherwise reading!